There is one thing in life that no-one can change - History!
What has happened in the past remains there. Stories can be uncovered, discoveries made, but trying to remove what has
happened is impossible.
No doubt in days gone by, our ancestors lived their lives to the fullest, and they would never have thought that matters they tried to
hide could be uncovered.
When I started researching, as my part time employment (so it seems) I consistently hit huge brick walls in relation to, my father-
in-law, Dale Herronís natural father. Claude Harold Annesley.
Dale had a wish throughout his life, and that was to find his father. The man he never knew existed until he was around 10 years
old. He didnít even know until then, that he had an older sister Valerie.
All that Dale had to go on, was his parentís wedding certificate. A document, written in 1910, which clearly indicated that Claude
Annesley was born in China, and that his parents were Hon Arthur Annesley and Ellen Jennings. He was never able to find
anything about his father.
He thought that he had perished in the earthquake in Napier around 1932, where he went after working on a property Scartsdale
owned by the RSL in North Queensland.
Dale was born Claude Dalgleish Annesley, and changed his name to Dale Herron around 1940. His step father Jim Herron was very
good to him throughout his life.
He knew his father was from an aristocratic family, and that he had turned his back on his family and came to Australia for a
The Annesley Family are very notable, and indeed are very much part of the aristocracy of England and Ireland.
I made it my mission, when I discovered Family genealogy, to find Claude Annesley.
In 2009 I was particularly excited to find Claude had lived in New Zealand. I obtained his will, and letters he had personally written
to his solicitor and I felt sorry that he had died a lonely old man.
Then I learnt that when he died, he had his ashes thrown to the wind. So there was no headstone for us to visit, to honour him.
I found it extremely difficult to put Hon Arthur Annesley and Ellen Jennings together. Claude had kept a small cutting relating to
one of the Annesley Ďs who married in 1912, in his personal diary. It was from this line, that I assumed he was the son of the Hon
Arthur Annesley who had died in France in 1882.
But who was Ellen Jennings?
I traced the Annesley Line from the 1600ís and learnt that none of the children were called Claude, Arthur there were plenty,
Claude none. That research took weeks and weeks. The Annesley in the cut-out from the newspaper had died in Belgium in 1914,
and his title was transferred to his relatives, as he had no children. On my line of research, Claude would have been eligible for
the title, had he been the son of the Hon Arthur Annesley.
Various questions arose, why was a solicitor from Kent, looking for him in 1921? Did it have something to do with the title?
Nowhere in the Annesley line was there a partner called Ellen Jennings.
Questions, questions and more questions but no answers!
By chance I decided to help the British economy and paid for a subscription to Find My Past.uk. .A different website than my
Ancestry.com.au. I searched Ellen Jennings, and found her!!!!
The only problem was she was never married to an Arthur Annesley.
Yes she was married in Hang Chow, as per Claudeís marriage certificate, but her husband was Rev James Harold Sedgwick!
Once again I was over the moon, to find the elusive Ellen. But this raised so many more questions.
Ellen and James had a son, Harold, who was born before 1883. Ellen died prior to 1883, but I am unable to locate her death certificate. This discovery
raised some serious suspicions, because I firmly believed then, that Claude and Harold were the very same person.
But researcher friends had taught me that before you can make any assumption, the facts have to be proven.
So I continued my on-line research and searches of so many sites, it is lucky that I didnít use up all my monthly internet data allocation!
Rainy and gloomy days are perfect to devote to Family History Research.
I found the details of a site devoted to the Sedgwick Family and had help from them. I found Harold Jennings Sedgwick and this opened up another
avenue of research.
The Harold Sedgwick was the son of Church missionaries in China and other locations; grandson of respected members of the Anglican Church;
nephew of various Church ministers; member of the British Army in the Boer War; decorated to become a 2nd Lieutenant in the Prince of Wales Light
Horse Regiment; member of the Army Service Corps; decorated by the King; then court-martialed in Pretoria in 1902; stripped of his medals and
clasps; steals an identity of an officer whom he met in South Africa; leaves England and travels to Australia to live a life based on lies.
Did his past catch up with him? Is that why he dumped his daughter with an itinerant family and disappear; did he run from his farm in Orallo after
the solicitor caught up with him in 1922?
So many unanswered questions! But the facts cannot be ignored. I hope you enjoy the story.
Kris Herron April 2013
Previous research on Claude Annesley
Claude Harod Annesley was born in 1883, and on his marriage certificate it mentions that he was born in China.
His parents Arthur and Ellen Annesley were listed as being both deceased.
He listed that he was born in Chao Ching Chekiang, China. The closest to that information is the town of Shaoxing, Zhejiang
Province, China. (Hangzhou is the capital of the province, we visited it in 2007)
(In the early days it was not uncommon for someone to prepare their own birth certificate. No record can be traced of Claude’s birth
or any details of his parents. His name is spelt Annersley on his birth certificate.)
It is believed that his father was a member of the Diplomatic Corp, but there is no research to proove that.
He also states that he was born in China, in an area supposedly near Shanghai. All government records of Shanghai were
destroyed in the many uprisings. His death certificate indicates he was born in India, and that his mother’s name was Mary Ann.
However that information would have been given by the person arranging his cremation, as his second wife pre-deceased him.
However, the British Government still registered all overseas births in their registers.
To date no birth register can be located for Claude or his family.
Thank you for Birth certificate application CCUK 7837
British overseas birth indexes have been searched from 1881-1885 unfortunately with no results for CLAUDE HAROLD ANNESLEY
As we are unable to supply certificates if the birth was not registered at the time with the British Consulate we have retained our
search fee of £10 and refunded the balance.
You may wish to contact the UK Foreign & Commonweath Office on (+44)0207 008 00186 or visit the following website to gain
further information on how to obtain a certificate replacement:-
Thank you for your email.
Some of the files were destroyed during the revolution period at that time, we are not able to find his record from a few discovered ones. Apologies for this, you
might want to try to contact with General Registry Office in UK
website: www.gro.gov.uk/gro <http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro>
From: herronjk [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 04 November 2009 14:20
To: Consular Mail Beijing -UBS
Subject: Please reply
Our grandfather, Claude Harold Annesley son of Hon Arthur Annesley seemed to disappear into thin air in the 1930's and thorough a lot of searching, I have now
found where he died.
I am chasing a birth certificate, which he maintained he was born in Chao Ching, Chekiang, North China
I make that out to be the Chekiang provence, and there is a town of similar name, but spelt differently just south of Hangzow.
He was born in 1883 and his mother was an Ellen Jennings, all that information is on his marriage certificate.
He may have been in the Boer War, but I cant find any records of that at all, as he maintained he caught malaria in South Africa.
We have been to China, (fantastic place) and are aware of the fact that records were destroyed, but I understood that all births to British citizens were recorded.
Unfortunately there is no record. The people suggested writing to you direct, in case you are able to assist.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanking you in anticipation.